Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports File

Northeastern was out west to face the University of Arizona Friday night to start a highly anticipated 2024 campaign, entering the season ranked in the preseason Top 25 for the first time in program history.

Arizona entered the season with a chip on its shoulder after ending 2023 with a regional round elimination from the playoffs and losing in the PAC-12 Championship. Their dominant pitching display combined with a successful offensive attack gave them a comfortable 6-1 opening day victory.

The Huskies were quick out of the gate as senior Luke Beckstein opened the game with a double to deep center. This was immediately followed up by a single down the third base line by star junior Mike Sirota to put a runner in scoring position. Graduate first baseman Tyler MacGregor ripped a sacrifice fly to center  to bring in Beckstein from third, giving Northeastern an early 1-0 lead. The Huskies’ first inning quickly came to an end as the inning ended prematurely, due to a baserunning mistake by Sirota.

The Wildcats came out just as aggressive with an early attack of their own. A single by Brendan Summerhill and a double by Mason White quickly put them in business. A sacrifice fly from junior Tommy Splaine advanced both runners to tie up the game at one. Senior Emilio Corona grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring White and giving Arizona a 2-1 lead at the end of the first inning.

Senior Wyatt Scotti got the start on the mound for the Huskies after being named to the NCAA top-150 list last week. However, this was not the start Northeastern was looking for from Scotti. The righty pitched two short innings after being tagged with five earned runs on seven hits. 

After the first inning, the game was all Wildcats. Sophomore Jackson Kent got the start and delivered a dominant performance over six innings. He was credited with only one earned run on four hits and notched eight strikeouts. 

Arizona’s offensive attack continued into the second inning as freshman Easton Breyfogle opened the inning with a triple down the third base line. A single from Junior Richie Morales would bring in Breyfogle from third, giving Arizona a 3-1 lead.

As the third inning began Arizona continued to put up runs. A single from Splaine was quickly followed up by Corona, when he sent a two-run home run over the center field wall to increase their lead to 5-1. 

The Wildcats struck one final time in the eighth inning via a sacrifice fly after runners were put in scoring position due to an error by Northeastern catcher Gregory Bozzo, which gave them a 6-1 lead. 

Despite the Huskies’ struggles for the majority of the game, senior pitcher Will Jones stood out as a bright spot. Jones entered the game in relief of Scotti and delivered five shutout innings while only giving up two hits and striking out three batters. 

The Wildcats presented a perfect bullpen performance of their own when junior Raul Garayzar entered the game in relief of Kent in the seventh inning. He delivered a perfect performance, pitching three shutout innings while allowing zero hits and striking out four.

After receiving various preseason accolades from the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), nationally through publications like D1Baseball, plus receiving eight first-place votes in the coaches poll as favorites to win the CAA conference this coming May, the Huskies have entered the season with a “Prove Them Right” approach and will continue to view each matchup with this mentality.

Junior Dennis Colleran will get the start tomorrow for the Huskies as they face Arizona for the second game of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.